Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), condition in which people experience episodes of
depression that typically begin each fall or winter and lift in the spring. In some cases, people rebounding from winter depression veer to the opposite mood extreme and experience
mania. Bipolar disorder, characterized by mood swings between depression and
mania, may also follow a seasonal pattern.
(For an understanding of "Light" see LIGHT)
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People with seasonal affective disorder usually experience their first episode of depression in their 20s or 30s. Like all depressed people, they feel either intensely unhappy or profoundly indifferent to people, work, and activities that once brought them pleasure. They think slowly and have poor concentration. Those with severe depression may complain of feeling incompetent or immoral and may behave in irrational and bizarre ways. People with the winter form of seasonal affective disorder usually have an increased appetite, weight gain, and a craving for foods high in carbohydrates, including chocolate or other sweets. They sleep many more hours than normal and become sluggish and socially withdrawn. People with the summer form of seasonal affective disorder often have a decreased appetite with weight loss, sleep fewer hours than normal, wake up depressed, and feel restless and fidgety.
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